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To a Creative and Productive 2012!

December 31, 2011

Ready or not, here it comes… 2012!

Have you planned anything for the year ahead? Have you set any goals?

I’ve noticed that it is very popular to announce the future tasks just before the 1st of January, yet I don’t think anyone would be honest enough in letting us know how many of these are actually fulfilled. Doesn’t the New Year always begin with good intentions that then slowly over time get forgotten? Well, whatever you have on your mind for 2012, I hope you can reach, get done or achieve – simply make things happen!

If you don’t mind I will leave 2011 behind with a list of laws of productivity, that I found on The 99 Percent website (I have picked the main ideas to make it more comprehensible, i.e. shorter), that I believe can be useful for any creative person.

Keep creating. Be productive.

The 10 Laws of Productivity

1. Break the seal of hesitation.

While preparing properly as you start a new project is certainly valuable, it’s also easy to lose yourself in planning (and dreaming) indefinitely. Take action sooner rather than later. The minute that you start acting, you start getting valuable feedback that will help refine your original idea – and move forward with a more informed perspective.

2. Start small.

Big, blue sky concepts make the barrier to entry – and action – quite high. To avoid “blue sky paralysis,” pare your idea down to a small, immediately executable concept. Once you’ve road-tested your idea on a small scale, you’ll have loads more insight on how to take it to the next level.

3. Protoype, prototype, prototype.

Trial and error is an essential part of any creative’s life. The important thing is to synthesize the knowledge gained during the process to refine the idea, and create a new-and-improved version. Rather than being discouraged by your “failures,” listen closely and learn from them. Then build a new prototype. Then do it again. Sooner or later, you’ll hit gold.

4. Create simple objectives for projects, and revisit them regularly.

When working on in-depth projects, we generate lots of new ideas along the way. This can lead to a gradual expansion of the project’s goals, or “scope creep.” This insidious habit can make it impossible to ever really complete anything. The best way to avoid it is to write down a simple statement summarizing your objective at the start of each project.

5. Work on your project a little bit each day.

With projects that require a serious infusion of creative juice – developing a new business plan, writing a novel, or just learning a new skill – it’s incredibly important to maintain momentum. Just as when you run everyday, the exercise gets easier and easier, the same thing happens with your brain.

Jack Cheng: “the important thing isn’t how much you do; it’s how often you do it.”

6. Develop a routine.

Part of being able to work on your project a little bit each day is carving out the time to do so. Routines can seem boring and uninspiring, but – on the contrary – they create a foundation for sparking true insight.

7. Break big, long-term projects into smaller chunks or “phases.”

To help manage expectations and stay motivated for year-long or even multi-year endeavors, break each project into smaller chunks that only take a few weeks or a month to complete. The dual benefit of this approach is: (1) making the project feel more manageable, and (2) providing incremental rewards throughout the project.

8. Prune away superfluous meetings (and their attendees).

Few activities are more of a productivity drain than meetings. If you must meet (and this should be a big “if”), make sure everyone knows what needs to be accomplished from the outset.

9. Practice saying “No.”

Creative energy is not infinite. Seasoned idea-makers know that they must guard their energy – and their focus – closely. When you’re in execution mode, keep in mind that “unexpected opportunities” also mean distraction from the work at hand. Saying no is an essential part of the productivity equation.

10. Remember that rules – even productivity rules – are made to be broken.

Did we say develop a routine? This and other tips here should only be followed as long as they are working. Breaking habits offers new perspective and helps recharge us to head back into the fray.

— — —

HAPPY 2012! (K&J at Decor-Art)

4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 1, 2012 5:23 pm

    Good post with lots to think about, I hope I can achieve some of my goals. Wishing you a great creative New Year.
    Sandra x

    • January 2, 2012 8:01 am

      Thank you for your nice comments, Sandra. Let 2012 be full of joyful moments xxx

  2. Claire permalink
    January 3, 2012 9:29 am

    I resolve to not resolve! Great points to think about. Happy NY!

    • January 3, 2012 10:36 am

      Great resolution! A very firm one. Thank you for sharing it. Happy 2012 to you Claire.

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